Can't Hold Us

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Not to be confused with Can't Hold Us Down.
"Can't Hold Us"
Single by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton
from the album The Heist
B-side
  • "Make the Money"
  • "Wings"
Released August 16, 2011
Format
Recorded 2009–10
Genre
Length 4:18 (Album Version)
3:48 (US Radio Edit)
Label Macklemore
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Ryan Lewis
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis singles chronology
"Wings"
(2011)
"Can't Hold Us"
(2011)
"Same Love"
(2012)
Ray Dalton singles chronology
"Can't Hold Us"
(2011)
Music sample
13 second sample from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Can't Hold Us"
Music video
"Can't Hold Us" on YouTube

"Can't Hold Us" is a song by American hip hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis from their debut studio album The Heist (2012). Featuring singer Ray Dalton, it was released as the third single from the album on August 16, 2011.

The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making it their second number-one hit in the United States.[1] It is also their third consecutive number-one single in Australia.

The radio edit cuts out portions of the introduction, as well as the extended bridge section and an alternate beat during the last chorus, replacing them with an introduction from Dalton and a clapping beat. The beat is similar to their live performances of the song. The song is in the key of E minor with a tempo set at 146 beats per minute.

The music video was nominated for Best Music Video at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in 2014.[2] The song was also listed as "The Most-Streamed Song of 2013" by Spotify.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

"Can't Hold Us" was generally well received by music critics. Lewis Corner of Digital Spy gave the song four stars out of five, praising its "infectious, soul-soaked piano line and beats more vibrant than Rio de Janeiro's finest carnival floats".[3] Writing for The Edge, Hannah Mylrea rated the song 9/10 and complemented the duo's dynamism, deeming it "another massive summer hit".[4] Allmusic's David Jeffries also gave it four stars on five and wrote: "Macklemore & Ryan Lewis combine the handclapping, foot-stomping, and propulsive rhythms of old-fashioned gospel music with an infectious, uplifting chorus that could have been ripped straight out of will.i.am's playbook...this motivational, "this is the moment" number is identifiably and lovably Macklemore."[5]

Commercial performance[edit]

Due to the major international success of the duo's "Thrift Shop", there was a resurgence in sales of their previous singles and their album The Heist.

In the United Kingdom, the song debuted in the UK Singles Chart at number 187 on March 17, 2013, climbing up to number 53 the following week. It eventually peaked at number three on the chart. In Australia, "Can't Hold Us" became Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' third consecutive number one single, reaching the top of the chart on March 25, 2013, after "Thrift Shop" and "Same Love". In the United States, the song became a sleeper hit, and following a performance of the song on Saturday Night Live, the song cracked the top 10 at number 7, becoming the group's second top 10 hit, following the number-one single "Thrift Shop". "Can't Hold Us" reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the week dated May 17, 2013. They became the first duo to place their two debut singles atop the chart.[1] They also became the fifth act to place their two debut singles atop the Billboard Hot 100, following Mariah Carey with "Vision of Love" and "Love Takes Time", Christina Aguilera with "Genie in a Bottle" and "What a Girl Wants", Lady Gaga with "Just Dance" and "Poker Face" and Bruno Mars with "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade".[6] As of January 2014, the song has sold 4,383,000 downloads in the United States with 4,260,000 sold in 2013, making it the eight best-selling song of the year.[7]

Music video[edit]

Macklemore premiered the music video for "Can't Hold Us" on April 17, 2013.[8] The video was directed by Ryan Lewis, Jason Koenig & Jon Jon Augustavo, and shooting took place for three months, on 2 continents and 16 different shoots, ranging from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California to New Zealand at Cathedral Cove where scenes for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian were also shot.[9] Several prominent parts were filmed on the tall ship Lady Washington.

The video won two MTV Video Music Awards for Best Hip-Hop Video and Best Cinematography, and was nominated for Best Direction and Best Editing. It also was place at No. 12 on BET Notarized Top 100 in 2013. It was nominated for Best Music Video at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

Oklahoma City controversy[edit]

During the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the Oklahoma City Thunder were using the song "Can't Hold Us"[10] to pump up the crowd during their games. Macklemore, a Seattle native and fan of the former Seattle SuperSonics, requested that the Thunder, who moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City in 2008, not play the song. The Thunder acquiesced.[11]

Usage in the media[edit]

In May 2012, the song was re-released and featured in an International TV commercial for Miller Genuine Draft, created by the advertising agency me&lewis ideas.[12] In early 2013, the song was used in a U.S. television commercial for Microsoft's Outlook.com webmail service.[13] The song was also used in the background of ESPN College GameDay commercials, the March 2013 premiere episode of MTV's The Real World: Portland, in commercials for the movie R.I.P.D.[14][15] and in the trailer for the film Grudge Match. It is featured on the soundtrack for the 2013 film on Steve Jobs titled Jobs[16] and the American basketball video game NBA 2K14. On July 2, 2013, mash-up artist DJ Earworm released a summer mash-up, incorporating "Can't Hold Us" with 10 other songs that became popular in summer 2013.[17] In late 2013, the chorus from the song was used in an ad campaign for the opening of the Graton Resort & Casino in Northern California.[18] The song was also used in YouTube's annual Rewind video. The songs segment in the video features YouTube stars, The Slow Mo Guys.[19]

During 2013 Seattle Seahawks season, the song became the official touchdown song for the team thanks to big fan coach Pete Carroll. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, also big supporters of the Seahawks, performed "Can't Hold Us" along with "Thrift Shop" during the NFC Championship game halftime show at CenturyLink Field on January 19, 2014.

On March 17, 2014 Season 2 Episode 3 of the A&E TV show Bates Motel "Can't Hold Us" was featured in a scene as music in the background.

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[20]
  1. "Can't Hold Us" – 4:10
  2. "Can't Hold Us" (instrumental) – 4:10
  1. "Can't Hold Us" – 4:10
  2. "Make the Money" – 3:45
  • CD single (Germany)[22]
  1. "Can't Hold Us" – 4:10
  2. "Wings" – 3:45.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Award Result
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song Won
MTV Video Music Awards Best Hip-Hop Video Won
Best Direction in a Video Nominated
Best Editing in a Video Nominated
Best Cinematography in a Video Won
2014 Grammy Awards Best Music Video Nominated

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Catalog no.
United States[20][21] August 16, 2011 Digital download Macklemore LLC N/A
November 12, 2012 7" 789577669611
Germany[22] May 24, 2013 CD single Rykodisc Records 0825646441426

Cover versions[edit]

  • Pentatonix covered the song on their third album, PTX, Vol. II.
  • Boyband Emblem3 have covered the song, with member Drew creating his own bars for the rap section

References[edit]

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